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Seoul City Wall VIP Tour with Mayor Park

Mayor Park shows the different styles of stonework that are along Seoul's City Wall
Mayor Park shows the different styles of stonework that are along Seoul’s City Wall

If you’ve been reading my blog there’s no need to remind you of how in love with Seoul I am! I feel really lucky to have experienced so many aspects of the city and Korea in general. With all the great things Seoul has to offer it is really difficult to pick a favorite, but I must admit I do have one, and it’s Seoul’s City Wall.

My first 24 hours in South Korea

Can I tell you something? I don’t actually like airplanes. Twenty-six hours total in flight. Nightmares, people. NIGHTMARES.

Things got better after the flights (there were three). Since I’ve already been to Seoul, I felt a sense of familiarity at Incheon International Airport, and on the subways.  It was weird after all those hours traveling to feel such a strong sense of returning.

I chose to stay at Dustin Guesthouse, a place I visited during my first trip to Korea. The first people I met were some Southern army boys boasting loudly about their affection for guns. Weird to travel halfway around the world to hear that conversation.

Registration For May 23rd Meeting Open!!

Well Mamas & Papas, we have been doing this meeting thing for about three years now.  And that’s a lot of bars!  So whenever there is something new on the scene, we jump on it so others can explore.  Well there is  relatively new bar that has been receiving quite a bit of buzz lately that we couldn’t wait another second to try it out!

What would you do?

Backcountry Camping in North Carolina

I’m leaving for South Korea tonight! Finally! Wish I were more well rested. My dad was super excited to get breakfast with me this morning and woke me up at 7:30AM!

Last week, I said goodbye to the Great American Wilderness with a backcountry camping trip in the Great Smoky Mountains with said dad.

The art of backpacking isn’t hard to master. If you’ve never gone backcountry camping before, I strongly encourage you to do so at your earliest possible convenience. I feel like there are two people in the world: Those that backpack and those that do not. Why the polarity, betches? Backpacking is easy. You need to invest the money in a solid set of gear (see below) but once that’s over with, you have many cheap vacations ahead of you. It’s not just for outdoor nuts…it’s for anyone who wants to explore what it means to be human.

Occidental Hero, or, How I Screwed Up and Inspired the Development of a Global City

John Bocskay:

Here’s my latest piece over at Sometimes heroes are neither made nor born; they’re fabricated.


Originally posted on SWEET PICKLES & CORN:

Grab the last chance to feel the the vibe of “My Love from the Star”

Remember last winter when Do Min Jun and Chun Song Yi were fighting for their love despite the obstacles? One thing that was also on the spotlight was their huge and almost extravagant fancy looking houses. And surprisingly they were all on set, designed to best show the two protagonists’ daily lives.

Luckily enough, you can see it for yourself how Chun Song Yi and Do Min Jun lived. From Do Min Jun’s library to Chun Song Yi’s bedroom, now you can become the protagonist of the big hit drama.

We first went to Do Min Jun’s house.

5 To Do’s When Waiting To Move Abroad

Moving abroad soon, are you? Just finished up college? Grad school? Or just quit your day job? And now you’ve got some time to spare before the big trip?

You’re lucky, they say.  You’ve got time to relax, they say…

Perhaps you’re one of those people that relishes long stretches of free time. Good for you!  That’s fantas! But, if you’re anything like me free time is your nemesis. When I have nothing to do, my mind implodes and I start questioning everything in my life.







Satoori: How to Speak Korean Like a Local

All Korean text books teach students how to speak standard Korean, which is the dialect found in Seoul. However, Korea is a mountainous country that until very recently was difficult to travel around. As a result, each region has strong regional dialects, called ‘satoori’ in Korean. The best way to learn satoori is from a native of that province as satoori is generally spoken rather than written. This can make it hard to learn from written sources as it will be written phonetically whilst regular Korean (despite what many people think) is not written perfectly phonetically. This makes it more difficult to make the connections between sounds in satoori and regular Korean through reading alone.

Women: It’s about the Super Ego stupid


First off, this is for women who are looking for a relationship or some steady companionship. Not for those at play…to you I say: game on. Also, it goes both ways, albeit with nuances. Lastly, this is NOT limited to Heterosexuals.

Dexcited (depressedexcited) to move to South Korea

I’ve been planning my move to South Korea for over a year (thanks to one of my close friends making the move look so appealing! :) ), and now I have only twenty days to departure time.

Historically, I’ve enjoyed uprooting my life. My taxes for 2014 are proof of that.

I came back to North Carolina with the intention of only staying for four short months.

But then, when I was working as a barista at the local French bakery, I met an incredible guy and deferred my trip till May so I could continue to explore this new human creature, as opposed to exploring new continents.

I also spent my time going back to school at NC State for a couple grad courses in English. I’m actually sitting in the 9th floor of the library right now, procrastiposting.

Korean Slang: The Good, The Bad, & The Strange

If you want to talk like a native, then you are going to need to learn some Korean slang. Of course, there is so much slang in any language that it is almost impossible to keep pace with it, and it certainly isn’t possible to write an article containing every piece of slang ever, especially when some slang is only used on a particular television show or by a small group of people.

Instead, this article aims to teach you the most common and useful Korean slang, the stuff that you need to know. It will teach you the good, the bad, and the weird, which incidentally the name of a Korean movie that will teach you the first slang word of the article. ‘The Good, The Bad, The Strange’ is a Korean ‘western’ (no prizes for guessing which western film the title is based on) starring Lee Byeong Hun (이병헌) of G.I. Joe fame.

SNOB! (or Discriminate?)

First, a myth to bust: being judgmental or discriminate does not equate with being snobbish. Snobs “turn their nose up” at you based on material superficialities and perceived behavioral nuances that pose no real threat other than cramping their stuffy ass stylings. A snob for instance may dismiss your relevance based on your attire, wheels, word choice, hair do or lack thereof, education level, job, i.e., things that have little to no reflection of your character. In fact, snobs typically befriend pieces of shit, much like themselves, due to their material acquisitions/titles/abilities that perhaps have more to do with their character. My cousin was (perhaps still is) a snob and his best friend in the day was a BMW driving cocaine dealer who loved nothing more than to letch on anyone and their girlfriend (but did perform magic tricks for his more advantageous female customers, hence his shitty little moniker “Magic Dave”).

A How-To Guide for Korean Texting

Have you noticed that your speaking, listening, reading, and writing are all getting better, and then suddenly in a text from a Korean friend you understand nearly nothing of what they’ve said? You’re not alone, and we’ve all had to deal with the same thing.

Today we’ll give you a few words or phrases that you’ll definitely run into from time to time when texting your Korean friends, as well as a couple of tips for how to understand things you’ve never run into before.

Let’s start with some of the Korean texting short hand that you’ll run into on a daily basis, and make you look more native as well. The biggest tip I can give when trying to read Korean text messages, if you don’t understand the word by itself, is to read the message out loud. You’ll very often find that a lot of Korean texting slang is in fact a word that you do know, just written faster or shorter to speed up texting.

The FBI customer support sucks!

Before applying to teach ESL in South Korea, whenever I thought of the FBI (which was not often) I would free associate it with things like American’s Most Wanted, bad-ass secret agents and secret agentesses, and possibly cocaine-sniffing German Sheps. As an American, I guess I felt a certain amount of confidence in our Federal Bureau of Investigation. I thought it was pretty powerful. And pretty cool.




Expat, Immigrant, or None of the Above?

The question of who is an “expat” and who is an “immigrant” and how those terms relate to privilege has received some attention lately. This piece is my take on how those seemingly clear-cut lines get blurred a bit here in Korea.

For those of you living overseas, I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Expat, Immigrant, or None of the Above?

On being a totally unqualified private ESL tutor

This past winter, I quit the fifth and last job I would have in 2014. It was a waitress gig at the local contemporary American restaurant. My boss was a bipolar alcoholic. That, combined with his penchant for playfully slapping my ass was enough for me to say good bye and fuck you very much to the restaurant industry.

Here’s a clip of my boss asking me if I wanted to see his cock (yump, I sneakily voice-memoed at work sometimes):


Would You Rather?

The Seven Levels of Korean Aegyo

Korean Aegyo (애교) is basically when somebody acts in a cute or childish way, despite not being a young child themselves. This can take many forms, from how people speak and act, to how they dress or decorate their room. The reason for acting cute is to try and flirt with or impress somebody, or to get something that you want. If you are impressed by somebody’s aegyo, then you can say ‘gyiyowoyo (귀여워요)’ which means ‘cute’ in Korean (dictionary form: 귀엽다).

What to Pack for Korea in 2015

So you’ve decided to come to Korea. Excellent decision! In preparation, you’ve probably asked yourself this one question over and over: “What to pack for Korea?” Packing for a trip like this can seem like a daunting task. However, with a bit of foresight and preparation, it will be a breeze!

Packing for Korea

She’s happy she read “What to Pack for Korea”

You may be worried that you might forget to pack the one critical item for your trip. After all, you may not be able to just run down to your local Wal-Mart or Target in Korea and pick up something you forgot. However, it’s unlikely that anything will be that hard to get. Most of the necessities are easily available for purchase.

What it’s like to apply for a teaching job in South Korea

If you’re an English major and are anything like me, after graduating from college your resume probably says something along the lines of…

I eat crayons

My first two years out of school were an uphill battle of scrubbing dishes, bussing tables, and of course, being shamelessly sexually harassed by various shift supervisors. None of my employers took me or my education seriously. And I was broke all the time.

Vlog Entry #13: Jindo Sea Parting and Holi Hai Festivals

On March 21st and 22nd I took a trip organized by Enjoy Korea with friends to the island of Jindo, for the Sea Parting Festival, and Busan, for Holi Hai!

Marketing in Korea

Someone seemed to believe my experience in Korea is of some value.

Check it out if you have the time to spare.


Marketing in Korea

New Review for My Book

Check out this terrific review from fellow Signal 8 writer Giacomo Lee for The Worst Motorcycle in Laos: Rough Travels in Asia:

‘I’d failed both my wife and myself, and vowed to never let that happen again.’

Bloody Monday

I blame it on Valium. I had popped one the night before to put me down, to guarantee a full night’s rest before a busy work week, and it performed with aplomb. I was lowered into the depths of a gelatinous envelope of sleep. This was a soothing black slumber, embracing me softly while massaging the hardened flesh of my inner brain. The Valium plied its magic with chemical tendrils that, while delivering on the sleep front, stubbornly fought release come morning time. That’s right, that magic little pill will knock you the hell out, but with that comes a price: your bones become leaden, your eyes balls of cotton, and your head a cloud of steam. A proper Valium hangover can drag on for hours and hours. It’s a tough thing to shake.

The World Motorcycle in Laos: Rough Travels in Asia



The Long Way to Kratie

by Chris Tharp

(The following is an excerpt from my recently-published book, The Worst Motorcycle in Laos: Rough Travels in Asia, available now via Amazon and other fine booksellers. Enjoy.)

ZenKimchi Seoul Restaurant Expat Guide 2015

Hello makgeolli lovers ~ For those of you who live in Seoul we have a special treat for you… Joe McPherson is the founding editor of ZenKimchi, Korea’s longest running […]

Midam (미담)

Name: Midam (미담) Location: Sadang Reviewed by: Mamas & Papas on February 28th 2015-03-03 Thoughts: Midam is an established Makgeolli brewery, who produces a decent premium makgeolli that we have […]

When a woman needs help


We don’t need to stand outside with pitchforks and posters to get our message across just yet.
If you haven’t seen this picture already ubiquitous in the Korean media, here it is: a mother trying to protect her child from domestic abuse fled to the US and now the father is charging her with ‘child abduction’ and the mother might be separated from her daughter… Sounds f*cked up right ? It is.

So here’s what we can do right now to help:

Tweet @wwwicegov and say #StandWithNanHui tell #SarahSaldaña to drop the charges and exercise discretion.

Thank you!

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